An aging Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Clay, has been flying under the radar for years now, but his impact on the world of sports and pop culture have left a lasting impression. As, as a the voice within our community of nostalgia fans I’d like to remind everyone of Mr.Ali’s legendary matches, irreverent speeches and resilience both in and out of the ring. Here, a look back at Ali’s career highlights and most memorable moments.
Ali Surprises Liston…and the World (1964)
Sonny Liston had all the momentum in the world leading up to his bout with then underdog Cassius Clay. But Ali’s tenacity during the first seven rounds of the fight proved to be too much for Liston, who practically surrendered. It was the boxer’s first heavyweight championship.
Fight of the Century (1971)
Dubbed the “Fight of the Century,” Ali’s face-off with Joe Frazier gave him the opportunity to win back the 1964 heavyweight championship title he’d been stripped of for refusing to enlist in the army draft. Unfortunately, after 15 rounds before a sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden, Frazier was unanimously named the winner.
Rumble in the Jungle (1974)
This historic, heavily promoted fight pitted the undefeated heavyweight champion, George Foreman, against Ali in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). It took place at 4 a.m. local time in order for it to appear live at 10 p.m. in the Eastern United States, and was hyped by a three-day musical festival leading up to the event. Ali trained for months in Zaire to help him acclimate to the weather conditions in Africa, and came out victorious after just eight rounds.
The Thrilla in Manila (1975)
This was the third and final fight between Ali and his longtime rival Frazier. It took place in the sweltering Philippines under conditions that proved to taxing for Frazier who, during round 14, threw in the towel due to the oppressive heat. A victorious Ali would later refer to the match as “the closet thing to death.”
Ali’s Best Knockouts
During his 21 years as a boxer, Ali was rightfully cocky, obnoxiously arrogant and incredibly charismatic. His talents inside the ring won him numerous titles and, most importantly, a place in pop culture history.